The Ministries of Health in St. Kitts & Nevis wish
to advise the general public that the outbreak of H1N1
(Swine) Flu in St. Kitts / Nevis is beingclosely monitored.
Information is provided below & elsewhere for guidance.
Press release #1 (26/04)   Press Rel #2 (30/04)    
Press release #3 (07/05)   Press Rel #4 (06/06)    
Press release #6 (15/07)   Press Rel #7 (27/07)
Press release #8 (21/10)   Press Rel #9 (13/12)    Press Rel #10 (13/12)
Pork Statement   Pandemic Phases.pdf   
FAQ  (WHO)   FAQ (CDC)    FAQ (SKN)    St. Kitts / Nevis Poster
SAINT CHRISTOPHER AND NEVIS
MINISTRY OF HEALTH
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER
Tel:  869 467 1270/1172/1173   Fax:  869 466 8574   email: skncmo@yahoo.com
October 21 2009
1300hrs

Media Release
Subject:  Pandemic H1N1 Influenza – 2nd Wave

In keeping with its policy of providing accurate and timely health information, the Ministry of Health issues the following Pandemic Influenza update.

1. The region and hemisphere are now experiencing a second wave of Pandemic Influenza H1N1.  The first wave started in Mexico and the Southern United States in
mid-April followed by rapid global spread within 3 weeks due to international air travel.
2. During the first wave, there were cases in St. Kitts and Nevis in May, June and July.  Of the twenty seven (27) tests performed, five (5) were confirmed – three
(3) resident nationals and two (2) non-national visitors.  There was one (1) death – a person with underlying medical conditions.
3. Local influenza activity decreased in August and September.   During this period, five (5) tests were performed – all H1N1 negative.  However, countries in the
Southern Hemisphere experienced increased activity because of their winter season.  The new H1N1 influenza was the predominant circulating influenza virus.
4. Influenza viruses are more prevalent during the colder months of the year.  Cold weather has already gripped temperate parts of the Northern Hemisphere.  The Pan
American Health Organization (PAHO) is reporting “a high intensity of acute respiratory disease” in Canada, Mexico and the United States.  The Caribbean
Epidemiology Center (CAREC) is also reporting increased acute respiratory illnesses in the region.  There have been media reports of influenza outbreaks in sister
OECS countries.  
5. In essence, the influenza season for St. Kitts and Nevis and the rest of the hemisphere has started earlier than usual - January and February being the usual months
for intense activity.  The new H1N1 influenza is the predominant circulating influenza virus.

H1N1 FACTS

Since the first alert was issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) six (6) months ago, much knowledge has been gained from collaborative research and the
study of experiences of the first wave.
The following are the current Pandemic Influenza facts:
1. Worldwide, the overwhelming majority of persons experience mild illness and recover within one week without medication.
2. There is a subset of the population that is high risk for severe disease.  High risk groups include:
a. Pregnant women
b. Persons with underlying medical conditions e.g. Asthma, uncontrolled diabetes
c. Obese persons
d. Children up to age 14 years
3. The virus has not mutated to any significant degree therefore the available antiviral medications remain effective.
4. Vaccine has been developed, produced and distributed in vaccine manufacturing countries.  Preliminary reports indicate the vaccine to be safe and effective.
5. Priority recipients for vaccine are persons who are high risk plus healthcare workers.  The Ministry of Health will provide further information about the logistics of
vaccine availability.   There are procurement and distribution issues to be settled in conjunction with regional partners.
6. Persons 60 years and older have significant natural protection against Pandemic H1N1 meaning that they were exposed to a component or components of the virus
in the years prior to 1950.

IMPACT & INTERNATIONAL MEDIA COVERAGE

By definition, Pandemic Influenza, means a new virus and, as a consequence, significant impact on immunologically naïve populations and health systems.
Ordinarily, on an annual basis, Seasonal Influenza causes tens of thousands of deaths in the North America, Western Europe and other places without much media
attention.

There are similar death projections for Pandemic Influenza.   Authorities in the USA estimate 30 to 50% of the population affected, 1.8 million hospitalizations (0.6%
population), and 30, 000 to 90, 000 deaths.  UK projections estimate 1800 to 7200 deaths.  Using the USA model, St. Kitts and Nevis could see 300 persons
hospitalized and 3 to 9 deaths.

Knowing this, the international media will be covering distressing news in the ensuing months.  Disturbing accounts and images increase anxiety and fear to the point
of panic especially when they are repetitive.

It is important for the public to remain calm and continue enjoying life.  An effective way of handling distressing news is to turn it off.  It is best to obtain information
from authoritative sources of information.  The Ministry of Health recommends the public’s use of the websites of the PAHO/WHO, CAREC, CDC, Health Canada,
and the UK Health Promotion Agency.  High quality radio and television international coverage is available from the BBC, PBS, and C-SPAN which are known for their
fair, balanced and objective approach to news collection, analysis and dissemination.

POPULATION HEALTH ADVICE

The second wave of Pandemic Influenza is here.  There is no need for alarm or panic.   The health system stands mobilized as follows:
a. Public Information:  The dissemination of authoritative information to the public via the local media.  This relationship is working.
b. Social Marketing:  Messaging will continue in reference to health promotion and prevention of virus transmission from person to person.  There will be more talks,
public advisories, press conferences, posters and flyers.
c. Medical Treatment:  Timely and effective management of persons with severe disease guided by international best practices.  For the avoidance of doubt, the
decision whether to test and/or to treat rests solely with a qualified medical doctor.

Advice pertaining to health promotion, and effective illness prevention and management, is guided by science and wisdom of the ages.  This advice is unchanging:

1. The best measures to prepare the body to fight influenza and other diseases are good nutrition and hydration, adequate rest and exercise, cleanliness and a positive
mental attitude.
2. To prevent virus spread, “cover your cough and sneeze” with absorbent tissue, discard the tissue in a bin, and then wash your hands with soap and water.
3. Persons with flu-like illness must stay at home and contact their personal physician or community health center for advice.
4. Persons with flu-like illness plus breathing difficulty, weakness or dehydration, must seek medical attention immediately at the nearest hospital.


…………………
Patrick Martin
Chief Medical Officer
Media Release # 8/10
Subject:  Pandemic H1N1 Influenza
2nd Wave
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WEBSITES H1N1 (Swine) FLU
Dr. Patrick Martin, Chief Medical Officer, St. Kitts - Nevis